Debates in Latin American Social Theory

Black Studies Colloquium

Black Life Futures:  Black Ecologies and African Diaspora developed by the Black Studies Colloquium explores the following inquiry: In what ways do studies in Black Ecologies in the United States and across the African Diaspora unfold and communicate with one another? What are the connections between ecological forms of oppression and socio-political legacies of colonialism within the Black Diaspora? What kind of Black futures might we imagine through cultivating conversation and producing scholarship across sites of Black studies in North American, the Caribbean, South America, and Africa? Black Life Futures takes an interdisciplinary and creative approach, incorporating the research of faculty, activist scholars, and students in order to create public-facing content to advance collective knowledge and to develop intellectual, creative, and activist strategies and theories that will help us contend with challenges of the past and present while bringing about a range of futures informed by Black ecologies and Black studies. This public-facing research project features a series of events and related content is funded by the Baruch Provost Faculty Innovation Seed Grant. Most of the time, the environments, or ecologies, we live in are as quotidian as the commute home.  Summer 2021 there were waterfalls and lakes inside the 145th Street subway station, and New Yorkers kept swiping their metro cards or hopped the turnstile to catch the train home. Ecological realities confront us so abruptly that we literally have to dive in and contend with not only sudden shifts like the increase in rain in summer 2021 but also the long-standing material history that affects our daily lives. The past and the present converge as we grapple with the external conditions and social histories of our environments– this is a central idea within the discourse of Black Ecologies. Black Ecologies then help us understand our environments on local (perhaps the subway platform), national, and global levels, situating and analyzing the implications of places like Flint and Port au Prince, where black and brown people meet social and political challenges as they strive to live material world. It is for such reasons that within his formation of the concept of Black ecology that Hare recognized and called for “a social and political revolution,” arguing that “the real solution to the environmental crisis is the decolonization of the Black race” (Hare, 3, 8). Hare’s call for the decolonization of black people as a part of the intellectual and practical work of Black Ecologies continues to be taken up by scholars across the Black diaspora today as we continue to recognize myriad forms of oppression that Black people experience. The events for Black Life Futures along with corresponding content created by participating faculty, scholars, and students are posted in the content menu at this site.